Sunday, January 26, 2014

Marathon Man – Part 2

As any runner will know, the second leg of the race is a little like this:

1. You begin it with a sense of positivity – euphoria even – because you aren't feeling half as bad as you thought you would

2. Gradually, bit-by-bit, you start to become exhausted and achy in places where you didn't know it was possible to ache

3. You hit the 'wall' and begin cursing everything and everyone and wondering why the hell you decided to do this in the first place. 

4. Denial: after the race ends, you forget all of the exhausting moments of the race and commit to doing it all over again 

Needless to say, it's time to recount my second date with Marathon Man and true to roots of our dating beginnings, the second leg stayed true to running form. Moving away from the realm of exercise, for our second date Marathon Man suggested going to "Frühlingsfest"– a smaller version of Oktoberfest in springtime, with beer tents and a funfair. I thought this was a great idea (I'm not going to lie, I was conjuring up scenes of the Notebook, imagining Marathon Man hanging from a Ferris wheel like Ryan Gosling), maybe he wasn't boring and soul-less after all. There's also an important point that needs to be mentioned about what is worn to the festival – traditional dress: Dirndls for girls and Lederhosen for boys. Yes, it was only the second date and I was going to be getting my boobs out – no shame.

The date began somewhat well – he looked good in his Lederhosen and commented on how pretty I looked (was this the same arrogant/shy man as date one?) However, like the second leg of a run, this was the euphoric moment and it could only go downhill from here.

It's no secret that I look for a man who is able to take charge of the situation. It's not that I can't – in fact I'm usually a control freak – but when it comes to dating I like a guy to at least take the lead in the beginning (yes I'm old fashioned and non-feminist, but so what?) Despite being able to lead a pack in the race though, Marathon Man wouldn't be capable of leading a passive toy dog on a leash. He couldn't decide which tent to go to, couldn't find the tent he did end up deciding he wanted to go to, couldn't decide where to sit and couldn't get the attention of any waiter to order drinks – to the point where the guys sitting next to us ended up ordering drinks for us. I'm not cold and heartless and ruthless though – despite him being inept at all of these things, I decide not to write him off (particularly not when I probably dented his pride by asking directions to the tent, asking the boys if we could share their table when we couldn't find a seat, and ordering the drinks with the waitress). It must be noted that he didn't pay for the beers, but that's ok, they are expensive there so I didn't think much of that.

So here are the main 4 catastrophes of a terrible second date:

1. Insulting my job. Yes, he went there. Marathon Man –the boring consultant, not even a vaguely exciting one – insulted my job. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not being bigheaded here, but as jobs go, I like to think mine is one of the more interesting ones to talk about. As a magazine editor I get to write about and visit great places all the time! So in response to his question about what I did, I replied "I'm an editor for online luxury lifestyle magazines". His reply: " I don't like online magazines. I don't see the point and so I don't read them. If anything I read print magazines, but even those are dying out." I was shocked. Dumbfounded. I didn't know what to say. Not only did he insult my profession, but also suggested that my industry is dying. DYING?! I expected him to soften the blow of his previous statement, but he didn't. He changed the topic and didn't ask anymore about my job. He instead changed the topic to his current consultancy project: making morphine drips in hospitals drip the drug into patients at a more efficient rate. Now this is, of course, a worthy pursuit that will help the world in someway, but his arrogance, patronising and paint-drying way of explaining it to me made me want to take a quick nap. It also made me want to practice my boxing skills too, as he presented himself as saviour of the world while I was a mere journalist in his eyes – an online journalist at that. Unfortunately at this point I couldn't scream "I'm a celebrity, get me out of here!"

2. Going on a ride without me. As we were wandering around the funfair I could see him eyeing up the big, crazy ride. I used to be a ride junkie, but since getting labyrinthitis at 16 I now suffer from vertigo on funfair rides that swing me here, there and everywhere. After telling him I couldn't go on it but I was happy to go on the dodgems or something, or if he really wanted to he could go on it and I'd wait, he chose the latter. I stood there like a mother holding his coat, glasses and bag that he had dumped on me before leaving to run and join the queue.

3. Being an arrogant g••. After waiting for him to act like the big man on the big ride (wonder what he's making up for there?), I suggested going on the go-karts. Now, maybe it’s just me being naive, but I thought that any man would be over the moon if a girl wanted to go on the go-karts with him. Not Marathon Man. When I suggested that it would be really fun to go on them when passing by, he smirked and said: "You mean those go-karts? Really?’ I said, "Yes, why? It will be fun!” His response? "I don't think so, I went on a real go-karting track the other week and so I would find this really basic and boring – too simple for me." And so we walked on.

4. Being too tight to buy me a sausage. After being in his company for nearly 3 hours (sadly I had to be as I was meeting a friend at the festival afterwards, so he knew I had nowhere else I needed to be but there at the festival), we were both hungry. Now, I didn't expect him to get me a beer at 8 euros, but a sausage for 2 euros? Surely he could stretch to that being that I had endured his presence for such a long time? Surely a sausage? No. In fact, he even went to a different stand to me to buy exactly the same kind of sausage, probably just to avoid having to pay.

So, by now I had definitely been through all of the stages of the second leg of a race. No. Wait. Not all of them … denial was still left. 

So my friend arrived to meet us and Marathon Man chatted with us a little before finally leaving. Then, the fatal moment happened. My friend really liked him. She thought he was great! Instead of sticking to my guns I let her positivity infiltrate the last 3 hours I had endured and that, combined with the knowledge I acquired on that day about him only coming out of a 7 year relationship a year ago, made my anger turn to pity. Maybe he was just struggling to date? Maybe...maybe...maybe. Note to self: however lovely your friends are, they may not always know what is best.

Needless to say I ended up going on a third – and thankfully final – date with MM. It was in a beer garden, where he again didn't buy me as much as a sausage while recounting his 'holiday' to me and boring me with the 114 photos taken on his phone. His 'holiday' was a TransAlp mountain biking trip from Salzburg to Lake Garda. This guy was sport crazy with the personality of a stone. 

I left as quickly as I could, to never see him again and thanking the German Lord that I was single. Things I have learnt? Avoid adrenaline junkie, consultant Austrians from Salzburg – unless you are happy to fork out 2 euros for a Bratwurst and enjoy the pleasure of bad company.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Marathon Man

There's a huge gaping hole in my account of life in Germany and that is: dating. As a young and spritely single girl in Munich, I have thrown myself into the deep end of dating Deutsch-style – and what an 'interesting' pool it is. Although my first forays into dating in Germany involved a Dane and not a Deutsch wonder, that Nordic adventure was somewhat brief and I could no longer ignore the daunting task of tackling the blonde hair and blue eyes of zee Germans (note: nobody I have dated so far has had either of these attributes).

So, let me begin with: Marathon man. Before female readers everywhere start applauding me for my beginners luck, it's important that I clarify that I unfortunately mean 'marathon' in the running sense. You'd think that I'd take a slow and subtle approach back into dating right? Wrong. I, being the genius that I am, decided to accept a blind date. A blind date involving running. A running blind date! Somehow I didn't think through the fact that when I run I look like a dying mongoose that has been dipped in deep red paint. I think my naive-self figured that if he could like me in my running gear sweating up a storm, then effort and fabulous outfit on date 2 would be like a gift from the Gods (yes, this is how my mind works).

So I turn up at the agreed spot on a sweltering summer day to complete a 40-minute blind-date/run around the English Gardens. Non-Munich readers should know that this involves walking down a normal shopping street in your shorts, so you are already feeling self-conscious before you arrive.

There he was standing on the other side of the road. An Adonis. I couldn't believe my luck – how wrong I was. Marathon man was socially inept. After greeting me (thank god no awkward one or two kiss moment!) and telling me his name, there was no small talk. "Shall we go?” he said.

Now, I decided to leave my running gadgets at home to avoid looking like a bit of a pretentious pr•••. Marathon man? Oh no, he had every gadget that Nike ever made, and then some. Within a few minutes of setting off he asked me "Is this pace good for you?" as I was frantically panting beside him and reluctantly replied "Sure!" (nobody wants to appear like a pansy and particularly not on a date). As soon as I learnt that a) he was a consultant and b) he was Austrian and from Salzburg, I should have known better and run in the opposite direction, but instead I stayed and endured the worst date ever.

This guy did not know how to make conversation (which was, by the way totally in German and he never once offered to switch to English despite being fluent in English himself). There was never a reciprocated question or show of interest in anything I had to say. It went a little like this:

Me: Do you have any siblings?
Marathon Man: Yes, a sister

*silence* *awkward pause* *run 10 minutes more*

Me: What do you do, do you enjoy your job or travel a lot?
Marathon Man: I'm a consultant. I really enjoy it. I travel quite a bit but luckily not as much as other firms so it's not too stressful.

*silence* *awkward pause* *run 10 minutes more*

He. Never. Asked. Me. Anything. About. Myself. NOTHING. Oh wait sorry, he did ask me something:

What's your quickest half-marathon time?

Which means he didn't listen to me five minutes before when I was telling him that I was training for my first two half marathons ever in a few weeks. *sigh* He then proceeded to tell me all about his quickest times, where the races were and his tactic to get quicker. All the while I was thinking "you're attractive, but somebody pass me a spoon so I can gouge my eyes out because that would be more enjoyable than another minute of this date". Why are German guys so obsessed with sport? And I mean really obsessed. I'm a sporty person and it's even too much for me. They don't just do a run, they do a marathon. When they've done a marathon they do mountain marathons. Then they do a triathlon just for kicks. Then they take their hiking to the next level and climb Everest – like you do. I don't think you have to be a genius to work out the one thing that a lot of the guys aren't managing to achieve despite all of their sporting endeavours...Give me a man that will happily munch on a Maccy D any day over a German fitness freak.

After running 50 minutes instead of 40 minutes (so already running further and faster than planned) we arrived back at our starting point. At this moment, instead of accompanying me back to the U-Bahn, he declares, "Actually, I think that I'm going to carry on running and go a bit further. Not sure I got my full workout". Translation: asshole. I took it as a rejection but then was shocked as he asked for my number. My number? Strange, I thought the date had gone poorly for both of us, as he seemed so uninterested. However, for some reason I was still hovering between whether he was an arrogant git or merely socially challenged and decided to give him the pleasure of obtaining my digits – and with it, a second-chance. 

Mistake. Date 2 debrief to follow soon...

Monday, October 28, 2013


The war is a generally a topic that is best avoided in Germany. Brits love to brag about their win and crack jokes about the 'Jerrys' at every opportunity, but the Germans are still very much schtum on the subject. The thing is though, there is a war that is still present in daily German life. Battles are continually fought and lost – the Germans triumphant, the expats cowering (or rather, sweating) in a corner. I am of course talking about a very specific WW3: Window Wars.

Brits have superstitions about not putting shoes on the table and avoiding the cracks in the street – all harmless activities that don't affect anyone outside of the individual's space. The Germans? They have a genuine phobia of window opening. I know, right now you are sitting there thinking "Seriously? How bad can a window phobia and superstition be?" But really, it's a serious subject. Germans have to be warm. It doesn't matter if is 25 degrees outside, you can still witness 100 denier tights and thick jeans in your midst. More than that though, they insist on the windows being closed...AT ALL TIMES. Germans believe that if you open the window and have beautiful fresh (almost mountain-like) air streaming in through the windows, then you are going to get ill. It doesn't matter if the air temperature is 25 degrees, oh no, you WILL get ill. Oh, and don't forget the obligatory scarf. If James Bond had been German he wouldn't have had any of those crazy gadgets, oh no, Q would have given him a scarf – to ensure he doesn't catch a cold when running after the enemy in blizzard-like weather. In the UK, scarves are generally decorative pieces that only serve a real purpose when it's in the midst of winter, we are outside and absolutely need to keep toasty. The only time I would wear a scarf in the office is if the heating wasn't working, or I wanted to look particularly swish that day. The Germans? Well, you'd be lucky to find them at their desk under the mound of wool wrapped around the top half of their body.

But, back to the windows. The odd thing is, that Germany has more window opening opportunities than most other countries: windows can be opened on the U bahn and even on regional trains because they don't go super fast. Here are my most recent window opening attempts on public transport:

Attempt 1: 8:00am, the doors to the U bahn swing open and a warm wave smelling of mouldy cheese mixed with Leberkäse hits me. Why hasn't anyone opened a window? Madness. So, I sit down and casually open one of the many windows that it is perfectly allowed to open. I sit back, pleased with myself and shut my eyes for a little pre-work nap. My eyelids haven't even closed before: BAM! The window is slammed shut by the previously innocent-looking businessman sitting opposite me. Why on earth didn't he ask if he could close it and at least feign trying to appease my wishes? It's obviously important to remember that when it comes to windows and overhead locker space in aeroplanes, business men always win, no exceptions.

Result of attempt 1: thwarted

Attempt 2: German regional trains are amazing. They are clean, have wide corridors, plenty of space and best of all, they are double-decker – so if you snag a spot on the top-deck you can take in the wonderful views as you speed through the countryside. As I hopped into my seat on yet another overly heated form of public transport (they love to have the heating on full blast at all times of year) I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it was possible to open the window next to me. Joy radiated through my soul. After being open a mere 5 minutes, a middle-aged German man actually walked from the back of the carriage, pushed in front of my seat and slammed the window closed! I was paralysed with shock at the act, and failed to retaliate. Hashtag window fail.

Result of attempt 2: thwarted

Attempt 3: Back on the train again, this time a lovely old-style one where you can pull the big windows half way down and pretend like you are acting in the "Railway Children" (I may or may not have been imagining that I was Bobbie). The carriage was empty so opening windows didn't entail any hit-man-style risks – bliss. Trundling through the mountains was amazing and breathing in the mountain air was magic. We then pause at a station and people enter my carriage, where I was previously sitting alone. In England if you entered a room with someone in and the window was open or the light was on, you wouldn't dare change a thing unless it was a life and death scenario, and even then you would sidle over apologetically and begin the sentence with "I'm awfully sorry" and then proceed to beg for them to close the window if they "wouldn't mind". Germans don't have time for such considerate theatre. Another middle-aged man, my favourite kind, storms up to my part of the carriage and closes the window. Then, after it is closed, asks me if I mind if he closes it (in a way that suggests he couldn't care less what my answer is). I wasn't going to take it lying down anymore. This was my moment to act. To reclaim a British victory. I replied (in Deutsch of course): "Actually I do mind, why do you have to shut the window?” To which he replied "Weil es schimpft!" (translation: "Its blustering/roaring!” note: this is also the same verb for “to offend”) Oh please, and I thought the British were the dramatic ones. Believe me, a tickling breeze of loveliness is probably exactly what you need, moaning middle aged German man.

Result of attempt 3: thwarted

Conclusion: it seems I will forever be destined to exist in stuffy-filled spaces, at a minimum temperature of 25 degrees despite being in feather and down coat, and of course, donning the obligatory thick, woollen scarf. Sweating. Sexy.

Potential solution: work on gluing all windows in Germany into a permanent 'open' position. (note to self: must look into putting this plan into action).

Monday, April 22, 2013

Home Is Where The Heart Is

In most countries the idea of family is fading away fast. Eating dinner around the table together every night is a thing of the past, stable marriages that endure the decades seem more like rare shooting stars in society other than the 'norm' to aspire to. Germany however, is bucking the trend and singing a different tune: family life is still very much at the forefront of people's minds and lives.

In the UK it feels like everyone is clammering to break free of family and tradition and the town where they were born. I really don't get that feeling here. In fact, it's the opposite: people wear Tracht (traditional clothing of Lederhosen and Dirndls) in special colours and patterns that represent their hometown and what's more, they wear it with pride. People seem to stay roughly where they are from (or at least those from Bavaria and Munich do). Then again, why move away from such a wonderful place: a thriving job market, beautiful (although often difficult to acquire) apartments, mountains, lakes and...of course, beer!

The family element really is lovely though. 'Biergartens' aren't profit making machines (unless you go to the English Gardens) but places for people to come together. Actually, in Bavaria, there is a 'law' so to speak, that you are allowed and even encouraged to bring your own food. This really is a beautiful sight when family and friends gather together around one of the beergardens' long tables, pulls out a pretty tablecloth and everyone has a tupperware with a different tasty delight inside. I love this. I miss this when I am back in the UK, where sometimes (although not always) you have to get drunk to have a good time. Don't get me wrong, we definitely get drunk on our beergarden days too, but that's after  several hours of merriment, rather than downing as much as possible in Happy Hour. Actually, Happy Hour is equally interesting: 10pm onwards! I love this! It makes perfect sense! It means you don't have to go crazy at 4-6pm and drink as much as you can to keep you going throughout the night without breaking the bank.

Families here are so welcoming too. My ex-neighbours took me in like one of their own as soon as I moved in - inviting me to brunches and dinner and generally looking out for me. When I moved house, they all pulled together and helped me, rather than watching me lug my boxes alone down the street. This is so refreshing compared to so many anonymous-feeling cosmopolitan cities where you can't smile at someone without them wondering what your hidden motive is.

Viva Bavaria and the family-feeling!

The Staring Contest

Are you good at staring? Are you single? If the answer to these two questions is yes, then you will be successful on the dating scene in Germany or rather, Munich. Dating is definitely different here in more ways than one. I for one, am not adjusting well.

I recently heard a friend describe the UK University 'dating' scene to me like this: "Well, it gets to around midnight and then its as if everyone has been injected with something and is clamouring to get with anyone and everyone, not wanting to go home alone. I mean, they just walk up to someone and grab them!" *cue shock and disgust* Unfortunately, I couldn't really correct her on this. It is for the most part, true. I'm not saying that I am proud of this and I definitely wasn't one of the 'midnight lurchers' (well, maybe excluding nights when I was at Top Banana on a Monday and pints of Purple were only a pound...kidding!), but a milder version of this would be preferable to the German way of doing things.

It all comes back down to their favourite side-activity: staring. When I was in London for one night, I was approached by several guys throughout the night wanting to chat and buy me a drink – *cue reader thinking what a smug and arrogant little wotsit thinking she is God's gift to men* – I can assure you I am most definitely not, but men are more forward from the Isle and at least give it a little bit of effort. They understand the beauty of the chase. They know that if they don't make a move, they are going to miss out. Munich men? They will sit like an unmovable stone and stare at you all night, undressing you with their eyes, and still won't do ANYTHING about it. It's not like I want them to lavish me with drinks and attention, but a simple"Hallo" would make things much less awkward. I once sat opposite some guys with my friends in a bar and they literally stared the whole night – which was more offputting than flattering. They didn't speak for the whole time we were there. Then we leave, 3 hours later, and they say 'Bye girls, shame you are going already!". "Bye"? "Bye"?! How about starting with "Hi!" 3 hours ago when I was vaguely interested, rather than trying to talk when I'm walking out the door. I just don't understand this at all. If this was a wildlife programme, the species would have died out by now: *cue wildlife presenter voice* "The male, intimidated by the female, holds back and watches her from afar, trying to determine her next move. Meanwhile, the female appears to be becoming agitated. This is an exciting moment, it looks like the male is slowly starting to approach and we are going to witness the magical moment of meeting out here in the harsh environment of the German wilderness male appears to have been startled and has ran back into the bushes again".

Then you have got the other approach in the club: the 4 hour stare, followed by edging closer bit by bit in a completely obvious way. They though, think they are totally slick and are reeling me in by the second with their sexy smooth moves – they couldn't be more wrong (particularly because a pensioner could bust better moves than they can). As Queen Vic would have said 'We are not amused'. It's like they have taken tips from black and white films – come into the 21st century, pretty please?

Then there is the 'let's be friends' kind of courting (basically staring with a little chatting). One of my friends has been here years and told me this technique: they like to be friends with you for at least 4 years before they will even consider anything else. Didn't they watch Scrubs? Hurry up or you are going to miss the window and be forever in the 'friend zone'!

A few weeks ago though, I was pleasantly surprised. I had left my friend at the bar and then I had come back to find her with a a guy chatting avidly. This, in the Munich world, is shocking. Upon my arrival though, the mystery was soon unravelled. He was Italian and called Mateo (not in any way a cliché...). After struggling to speak to my friend in English, he turned his attention to talking to me in German. Here's the best bit of all though. Pointing at me, my friend and himself he goes on to say: "One, two, three – we could have a good night together yes? *creepy raised eyebrow*".

On second thoughts maybe the German guy staring isn't so bad after all...

Friday, April 19, 2013

For the love of...leather?

Leather has a kind of cult following on the continent. They really do love it, perhaps one might say, a little too much. When I lived in France the black leather jacket was the epitome of cool amongst 13-17 year old girls. I wasn't living in Paris either, just the pretty suburbs surrounding Carcassonne in the south of the country – but leather was still making its mark. Don't get me wrong, I love a bit of leather too, but I'm tiring a little of the 'leather look' being sported by pretty much everyone – I find myself longing for a little East-London cool where fashion would be mixed up a bit.

Here in Germany, leather remains a core staple amidst teenage and twenty something girls. Perfectly boy-shaped, they strut the style with ease, matched with tight fitting trousers that would give me a hernia if I wore them. Envious? Me? Never. The thing is though, the temperatures have suddenly risen in Germany to a sultry 25 degrees from...well..the Tundra. Yet, despite the increase, the leather stays stuck to the skin of absolutely everyone! WHY? How are they not dying? If I was wearing a leather jacket and leather trousers in 25 degrees then my own profusion of sweat would have melted and moulded them onto my body for all time – I would be forever known as the 'leather lady', or, well, something like that. The question is though, why are they defiantly wearing them in these tempartures? Is it more than a style statement? Is it a status statement? I'm starting to think so. If it is, I'm definitely not belonging to this upper echelon of leather cool – poor me, I'm so unfortunate being oh so nice and cool in my floaty skirt that doesn't create sweat beads.

There is an important part of the leather culture though that I have left out until now. That is the mid-life crisis leather. Let me tell you now, sporting a James Dean style leather-look over a certain age doesn't scream sexy, it cries 'Crisis!', no matter how loud the song 'Daddy Cool' is playing in your head as you strut along the street. Believe me, the German 30-40 year old guys wearing these jackets really are strutting, I actually witnessed one guy on the U Bahn in his shirt looking sensible (definitely not the type who should lean towards a leather purchase) and then once he gets off, he swings on a leather jacket and starts to add a little swagger to his walk. Oh dear, oh dear oh dear. Now, don't misunderstand me, there are definitely some over thirties and daddies out there who can rock this look and make even me go weak at the knees, but in general it should be avoided – yet German guys think a leather purchase is their ticket to Cool Kingdom, or something. Here is my plea to German guys everywhere: "Put the leather...DOWN!" Seriously. Go for duffle instead. In fact, go for anything instead. Unless you are 25, play in a band and have a cigarette hanging from your hand in a nonchalent kind of way, then the tanned goods aren't for you.

I have to say though, the more you live in a place, the more you start to tip toe towards following their trends. Upon a few occassions I have had the urge to follow through and become part of the leather pretty possy. Am I becoming a German? Here is a picture of me on the right, sticking to my guns and not giving in to the Lord of Leather that rules this city *ahem*.

On another terrifying note, I have been informed that Denim is going to be the material of the moment this summer. This is fine, when handled by those with a little know-how. The Germans? No doubt they will be sporting the double denim look in no time at all *shudder*, probably with socks and sandles on their feet for good measure *sigh*. It's going to be like stepping back into the 90s...and not in a good way..."Ah oh, ah oh"...oh no. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Kaiserschmarrn Classics

Believe it or not, I had a blog at 16. I know, what on earth did I have to write about at 16? It was back in the days when Myspace was cool (and ‘Facebook’ was just some ‘boring looking wall thing that your older sibling spent too much time on’) and when the song you chose for your profile was of the upmost importance – as it would define who you truly were to the world (or something like that). I had completely forgot about my first blog, but when sifting through my computer and deleting old files I stumbled across one entry. Often it feels like the thoughts and feelings we have when we are younger are no longer relevant as we grow older and gain more experience in the big, wide world. This entry, however, proved me wrong. It made me want to sit down, pull up a chair and have a cup of tea with my 16-year-old self and pick her brain, as she was evidently wiser than I am now. Really, this diary-style entry couldn’t relate to my life any better than in these older years, living in a foreign country and starting anew (cheers to that!).

So, I thought I would share my 16 year old thoughts with you all:

I was sitting listening to my music and then a thought struck me: what really is ‘moving on’? Sometimes moving on can be a positive thing...moving onwards and that song "Moving on up" but sometimes, it can be a word people use as a way of covering up the fact that something they didn't want to happen has happened. Like the disintegration of a friendship. Like the breakdown of a relationship. It seems to vary from person to person on how the term ‘moving on’ is handled. For some, it's closing the book...putting it down...and beginning a new one. For others, it's merely turning the page onto a new chapter and allowing the threads from the plot in the previous chapter to resurface later 
on in the novel that is life, to result in a perfectly rounded ending.

I'm definitely a chapter person, I feel that to close off part of your life forever is to deny the possibility of change and rids your life of that unpredictability that we are all living for. To shut people and indeed, events, out of your life is sometimes necessary but I think we always need to be ready for that moment when they reappear. Maybe what we should really be asking is: is it ever really possible to completely ‘move on’? First words, first jobs and critically, first loves. We all move away and ‘on’ from these ‘firsts’: our vocabulary widens, our job maps out into a career and our first love leads onto new loves and indeed, lovers. However, these ‘firsts’ have a significant impact on our lives and therefore, surely form part of who we are?

So, maybe when someone says it's time to ‘move on’, the response is as simple as this: "I have moved on, I am moving on and, I will move on"